Three Legislative Seats Soon To Be Open
The elections of State Sen. Alan Nunnelee and State Rep. Steven Palazzo to Congress will soon open up their seats they occupy in the legislature. A third seat- currently occupied by Johnnie Walls in the Senate- will also open as he leaves to take a judgeship position on the Circuit Court’s 11th district.
As with special elections in Mississippi, there will be an open primary type system where any candidate can run and with no party label. If an individual fails to get 50 percent, the top two vote-getters will head to a runoff probably three weeks after the first vote.
I would not expect any seat to change parties. Nunnelee and Palazzo are, of course, Republicans; while Walls is a Democrat.
As for Nunnelee’s seat, we know of its history. Before Nunnelee, it was occupied by Roger Wicker who held it until he won the Congressional seat in the First District that Nunnelee is soon to occupy. Also with Nunnelee, the Daily Journal is reporting that he has notified Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant that he will not be involved in 2011 budget talks which are set to begin next week as he gets ready for life as a Congressman. Bryant can replace Nunnelee or simply have the committee meet minus one member. Bryant will also soon be in a position to appoint a new Appropriations Chairman in the Senate- probably one of the top jobs in Jackson.
Nunnelee said he is planning to resign from the state Senate when the votes are officially certified; which should happen by the end of the week. I would expect something similar from Palazzo, but have yet to see or hear anything formal. According to an AP report, Walls is planning on resigning “by the end of the year.”